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Budkowski's arrival at Renault put back until April

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Budkowski's arrival at Renault put back until April
By:
Dec 1, 2017, 10:32 AM

The FIA and Renault have now agreed that former F1 technical department head Marcin Budkowski will only be able to start work at the French car manufacturer's Enstone base on April 1.

Renault caused some controversy earlier this year when it emerged it had signed Budkowski as its new executive director, to help its efforts to move up the grid.

Rival teams were furious over the move because, in his role with the FIA, Budkowski had privileged knowledge of what all competitors were up to and what developments they planned for the future.

The fear was that Budkowski could take these secrets to Renault to help fast track its progress.

But in a bid to appease the rest of the grid, Renault and the FIA have now agreed to double Budkowski's contractual period of gardening leave from three months.

He will be allowed to begin work at Enstone on the weekend after next year's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com: "I will confirm exactly what is going on, and he will be in Enstone on April 1."

Team agreement

Although F1 teams pushed the FIA to try to prevent a repeat of the Budkowski situation in the future, the governing body is hampered by the fact it has to comply with strict Swiss employment laws, which limit mandatory gardening leave to three months.

FIA president Jean Todt says that the best solution in the future would be for teams to agree amongst themselves not to aggressively pursue its staff in the manner that Renault did in this case.

"The teams were upset? The FIA was upset!" said Todt, when asked by Motorsport.com about the Budkowski situation.

"I would say sometimes when you have talented engineers leaving you are never happy. Those people are under Swiss contract, and we have limitations. And so it was three-months gardening leave.

"We finally agreed with Renault that he will only start on April 1 – which means six months. That is the way it is.

"If the teams globally are not happy, it is easy that they make a gentleman's agreement among them, and they would agree that they don't hire any FIA employees or engineers, without respecting a minimum of one year's gardening leaving. They should all agree on that.

"On our side, we will try to make the most solid contract in order to protect us and to protect them, but there is little we can do."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble